This month we’ll be covering the topic of body image including body shaming, men and body image, and eating disorders.
But before we dive into those topics, let’s talk about what body image is.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) defines body image as:
“Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:
- What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
- How you sense and control your body as you move. How you physically experience or feel in your body. “
I created a survey on body image and one of the questions asks participants if they agree with this definition. Before reading this definition, I would have simply said body image is how you feel/what you believe, positive or negative, about your physical shape. One survey participant agreed and said they thought the definition for them was, “not quite so in-depth – I usually think about body image as more how to feel about the way you look.”
Additionally, when asked about their own bodies (as of this writing):
- 100% of participants said that they have struggled with body image issues
- 90% of participants said that they have felt shame because of their bodies
- 55% of participants said that they “disagree” with the statement, “The image I have of my body is positive” (30% either “strongly agree” or “agree”, 10% “neither agree nor disagree”, and 10% “strongly disagree”)
And it has been interesting to see the responses to the questions about if the media, weight loss industry, and social media have negatively impacted the way we view our bodies. As of this writing:
- 50% of participants said that the media has negatively impacted how we view our bodies “a great deal” (33.33% said “a lot” and 16.67% said “a moderate amount)
- 33.33% of participants said that the weight loss/diet industry has negatively impacted how we view our bodies “a great deal” (33.33% said “a lot” and 33.33% said “a moderate amount”)
- 83.33% of participants said that social media has negatively impacted how we view our bodies “a great deal” (16.67% said “a lot”)
With numbers like this, I believe that it is more important than ever to have conversations about body image and loving our bodies. I hope you will join me this month as I talk about how we can start to love our bodies and how we can share positive body images with our friends and family.
Here are 10 Steps to Positive Body Image from NEDA’s website.
This week’s featured song is “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
“You are beautiful, no matter what they say”